틀:Short description 틀:Redirect2 틀:Use dmy dates 틀:Punctuation marks Punctuation (formerly sometimes called pointing) is the use of spacing, conventional signs and certain typographical devices as aids to the understanding and correct reading of written text whether read silently or aloud. Another description is, "It is the practice action or system of inserting points or other small marks into texts in order to aid interpretation; division of text into sentences, clauses, etc., by means of such marks."
In written English, punctuation is vital to disambiguate the meaning of sentences. For example: "woman, without her man, is nothing" (emphasizing the importance of men to women), and "woman: without her, man is nothing" (emphasizing the importance of women to men) have very different meanings; as do "eats shoots and leaves" (which means the subject consumes plant growths) and "eats, shoots, and leaves" (which means the subject eats first, then fires a weapon, and then leaves the scene). The sharp differences in meaning are produced by the simple differences in punctuation within the example pairs, especially the latter.
The rules of punctuation vary with language, location, register and time and are constantly evolving. Certain aspects of punctuation are stylistic and are thus the author's (or editor's) choice, or tachygraphic (shorthand) language forms, such as those used in online chat and text messages.
- 1 History
- 2 In English
- 3 Other languages
- 4 Novel punctuation marks
- 5 In computing
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
The first writing systems were either logographic or syllabic틀:Mdashfor example, Chinese and Mayan script틀:Mdashwhich do not necessarily require punctuation, especially spacing. This is because the entire morpheme or word is typically clustered within a single glyph, so spacing does not help as much to distinguish where one word ends and the other starts. Disambiguation and emphasis can easily be communicated without punctuation by employing a separate written form distinct from the spoken form of the language that uses slightly different phraseology. Even today, written English differs subtly from spoken English because not all emphasis and disambiguation is possible to convey in print, even with punctuation.
Ancient Chinese classical texts were transmitted without punctuation. However, many Warring States period bamboo texts contain the symbols 틀:Angbr and 틀:Angbr indicating the end of a chapter and full stop, respectively. By the Song dynasty, addition of punctuation to texts by scholars to aid comprehension became common.
The earliest alphabetic writing had no capitalization, no spaces, no vowels and few punctuation marks. This worked as long as the subject matter was restricted to a limited range of topics (for example, writing used for recording business transactions). Punctuation is historically an aid to reading aloud.
Most texts were still written in scriptura continua, that is without any separation between words. However, the Greeks were sporadically using punctuation marks consisting of vertically arranged dots—usually two (dicolon) or three (tricolon)—in around the 5th century BC as an aid in the oral delivery of texts. Greek playwrights such as Euripides and Aristophanes used symbols to distinguish the ends of phrases in written drama: this essentially helped the play's cast to know when to pause. After 200 BC, the Greeks used Aristophanes of Byzantium's system (called 틀:Lang) of a single dot (틀:Lang) placed at varying heights to mark up speeches at rhetorical divisions:
- 틀:Lang – a low 틀:Lang on the baseline to mark off a 틀:Lang (unit smaller than a clause);
- 틀:Lang – a 틀:Lang at midheight to mark off a clause (틀:Lang); and
- 틀:Lang – a high 틀:Lang to mark off a sentence (틀:Lang).
The Romans (틀:Circa) also occasionally used symbols to indicate pauses, but the Greek 틀:Lang—under the name distinctiones—prevailed by the AD 4th century as reported by Aelius Donatus and Isidore of Seville (7th century). Also, texts were sometimes laid out 틀:Lang, where every sentence had its own separate line. Diples were used, but by the late period these often degenerated into comma-shaped marks.
Punctuation developed dramatically when large numbers of copies of the Bible started to be produced. These were designed to be read aloud, so the copyists began to introduce a range of marks to aid the reader, including indentation, various punctuation marks (diple, 틀:Lang, 틀:Lang), and an early version of initial capitals (틀:Lang). Jerome and his colleagues, who made a translation of the Bible into Latin, the Vulgate (틀:Circa), employed a layout system based on established practices for teaching the speeches of Demosthenes and Cicero. Under his layout 틀:Lang every sense-unit was indented and given its own line. This layout was solely used for biblical manuscripts during the 5th–9th centuries but was abandoned in favor of punctuation.
In the 7th–8th centuries Irish and Anglo-Saxon scribes, whose native languages were not derived from Latin, added more visual cues to render texts more intelligible. Irish scribes introduced the practice of word separation. Likewise, insular scribes adopted the 틀:Lang system while adapting it for minuscule script (so as to be more prominent) by using not differing height but rather a differing number of marks—aligned horizontally (or sometimes triangularly)—to signify a pause's value: one mark for a minor pause, two for a medium one, and three for a major. Most common were the 틀:Lang, a comma-shaped mark, and a 7-shaped mark (틀:Lang), often used in combination. The same marks could be used in the margin to mark off quotations.
In the late 8th century a different system emerged in France under the Carolingian dynasty. Originally indicating how the voice should be modulated when chanting the liturgy, the 틀:Lang migrated into any text meant to be read aloud, and then to all manuscripts. 틀:Lang first reached England in the late 10th century probably during the Benedictine reform movement, but was not adopted until after the Norman conquest. The original 틀:Lang were the 틀:Lang, 틀:Lang, 틀:Lang, and 틀:Lang, but a fifth symbol, the 틀:Lang, was added in the 10th century to indicate a pause of a value between the 틀:Lang and 틀:Lang. In the late 11th/early 12th century the 틀:Lang disappeared and was taken over by the simple 틀:Lang (now with two distinct values).
The late Middle Ages saw the addition of the 틀:Lang (slash or slash with a midpoint dot) which was often used in conjunction with the 틀:Lang for different types of pauses. Direct quotations were marked with marginal diples, as in Antiquity, but from at least the 12th century scribes also began entering diples (sometimes double) within the column of text.
틀:Anchor The amount of printed material and its readership began to increase after the invention of moveable type in Europe in the 1450s. As explained by writer and editor Lynne Truss, "The rise of printing in the 14th and 15th centuries meant that a standard system of punctuation was urgently required." The introduction of a standard system of punctuation has also been attributed to the Venetian printers Aldus Manutius and his grandson. They have been credited with popularizing the practice of ending sentences with the colon or full stop, inventing the semicolon, making occasional use of parentheses and creating the modern comma by lowering the virgule. By 1566, Aldus Manutius the Younger was able to state that the main object of punctuation was the clarification of syntax.
By the 19th century, punctuation in the western world had evolved "to classify the marks hierarchically, in terms of weight". Cecil Hartley's poem identifies their relative values:
<poem style=margin:4em;> The stop point out, with truth, the time of pause A sentence doth require at ev'ry clause. At ev'ry comma, stop while one you count; At semicolon, two is the amount; A colon doth require the time of three; The period four, as learned men agree. </poem>
The use of punctuation was not standardised until after the invention of printing. According to the 1885 edition of The American Printer, the importance of punctuation was noted in various sayings by children such as:
<poem style=margin:4em;> Charles the First walked and talked Half an hour after his head was cut off. </poem>
With a semi-colon and a comma added it reads:
<poem style=margin:4em;> Charles the First walked and talked; Half an hour after, his head was cut off. </poem>
Typewriters and electronic communication
The introduction of electrical telegraphy with a limited set of transmission codes and typewriters with a limited set of keys influenced punctuation subtly. For example, curved quotes and apostrophes were all collapsed into two characters (' and "). The hyphen, minus sign, and dashes of various widths were collapsed into a single character (-, sometimes repeated as -- to represent a long dash). The spaces of different widths available to professional typesetters were generally replaced by a single full-character width space, with typefaces monospaced. In some cases a typewriter keyboard did not include an exclamation point (!) but this was constructed by the overstrike of an apostrophe and a period; the original Morse code did not represent an exclamation point at all.
These simplifications were carried forward into digital writing, with teleprinters and the ASCII character set essentially supporting the same characters as typewriters. Treatment of whitespace in HTML discouraged the practice (in English prose) of putting two full spaces after a full stop, since a single or double space would appear the same on the screen. (Some style guides now discourage double spaces, and some electronic writing tools automatically collapse double spaces to single.) The full traditional set of typesetting tools became available with the advent of desktop publishing and more sophisticated word processors. Despite the widespread adoption of character sets like Unicode that support traditionally typeset punctuation, writing forms like text messages tend to use the simplified ASCII style of punctuation, with the addition of new non-text characters like emoji. Informal text speak tends to drop punctuation when not needed, including some ways that would be considered errors in more formal writing.
In the computer era, punctuation characters were recycled for use in programming languages and data representation as in URLs. Due to its use in email and Twitter handles, the at sign went from an obscure character mostly used by grocers (and not professional typesetters) to a very common character in common use for both technical routing and an abbreviation for "at".
틀:Main There are two major styles of punctuation in English: British or American. These two styles differ mainly in the way in which they handle quotation marks, particularly in conjunction with other punctuation marks. In British English, punctuation such as periods and commas are placed outside the closing quotation mark; in American English, however, punctuation is placed inside the closing quotation mark. This rule varies for other punctuation marks; for example, American English follows the British English rule when it comes to semicolons, colons, question marks, and exclamation points.
Other languages of Europe use much the same punctuation as English. The similarity is so strong that the few variations may confuse a native English reader. Quotation marks are particularly variable across European languages. For example, in French and Russian, quotes would appear as: 틀:Lang (in French, each "double punctuation", as the guillemet, requires a non-breaking space; in Russian it does not).
Spanish uses an inverted question mark 틀:Angbr at the beginning of a question and the normal question mark at the end, as well as an inverted exclamation mark 틀:Angbr at the beginning of an exclamation and the normal exclamation mark at the end.
Armenian uses several punctuation marks of its own. The full stop is represented by a colon, and vice versa; the exclamation mark is represented by a diagonal similar to a tilde 틀:Angbr, while the question mark 틀:Angbr resembles an unclosed circle placed after the last vowel of the word.
Arabic, Urdu, and Persian—written from right to left—use a reversed question mark: 틀:Angbr, and a reversed comma: 틀:Angbr. This is a modern innovation; pre-modern Arabic did not use punctuation. Hebrew, which is also written from right to left, uses the same characters as in English, 틀:Angbr and 틀:Angbr.
Originally, Sanskrit had no punctuation. In the 17th century, Sanskrit and Marathi, both written using Devanagari, started using the vertical bar 틀:Angbr to end a line of prose and double vertical bars 틀:Angbr in verse.
Punctuation was not used in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean writing until the adoption of punctuation from the West in the late 19th and early 20th century. In unpunctuated texts, the grammatical structure of sentences in classical writing is inferred from context. Most punctuation marks in modern Chinese, Japanese, and Korean have similar functions to their English counterparts; however, they often look different and have different customary rules.
In the Indian subcontinent, 틀:Angbr is sometimes used in place of colon or after a subheading. Its origin is unclear, but could be a remnant of the British Raj. Another punctuation common in the Indian Subcontinent for writing monetary amounts is the use of 틀:Angbr or 틀:Angbr after the number. For example, Rs. 20/- or Rs. 20/= implies 20 rupees whole.
Thai did not use punctuation until the adoption of punctuation from the West in the 20th century. Blank spaces are more frequent than full stops or commas.
Novel punctuation marks
"Love point" and similar marks
- the "irony point" or "irony mark" (틀:Lang: 10px)
- the "love point" (틀:Lang: 15px)
- the "conviction point" (틀:Lang: 8px)
- the "authority point" (틀:Lang: 8px)
- the "acclamation point" (틀:Lang: 11px)
- the "doubt point" (틀:Lang: 7px)
"Question comma", "exclamation comma"
An international patent application was filed, and published in 1992 under Work Order (WO) number WO9219458, for two new punctuation marks: the "question comma" and the "exclamation comma". The question comma has a comma instead of the dot at the bottom of a question mark, while the exclamation comma has a comma in place of the point at the bottom of an exclamation mark. These were intended for use as question and exclamation marks within a sentence, a function for which normal question and exclamation marks can also be used, but which may be considered obsolescent. The patent application entered into the national phase only in Canada. It was advertised as lapsing in Australia on 27 January 1994 and in Canada on 6 November 1995.
Various sets of characters are referred to as "punctuation" in certain computing situations, many of which are also used to punctuate natural languages. Sometimes non-punctuation in the natural language sense (such as "&" which is not punctuation but is an abbreviation for "and") are included.
- James while John had had had had had had had had had had had a better effect on the teacher, a word puzzle in which proper punctuation must be added to give the sentence meaning
- Obelism, the practice of annotating manuscripts with marks set in the margins
- Orthography, the category of written conventions that includes punctuation as well as spelling, hyphenation, capitalization, word breaks, and emphasis
- Scribal abbreviations, abbreviations used by ancient and medieval scribes writing in Latin
- Terminal punctuation
- History of sentence spacing for typographical details
- Tironian notes, a system of shorthand that consisted of about 4,000 signs
- Larry Trask: Guide to Punctuation A helpful online resource
- History of Punctuation, in French Helpful photographs of early punctuation
- Punctuation Marks in English: Clarity in Expression
- Unicode reference tables:
- Ethiopic script
- Automatic Recovery of Capitalization and Punctuation of Automatic Speech Transcripts
- English Punctuation Rules
- Punctuation marks with independent clauses, by Jennifer Frost
- Encyclopædia Britannica: "Punctuation.
- Oxford English Dictionary, definition 2a.
- Truss, Lynne (2003). Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation. Profile Books. 틀:ISBN.
- 林清源，《簡牘帛書標題格式研究》台北： 藝文印書館，2006。(Lin Qingyuan, Study of Title Formatting in Bamboo and Silk Texts Taipei: Yiwen Publishing, 2006.) 틀:ISBN.
- The History of the Song Dynasty (1346) states 「凡所讀書，無不加標點。」 (Among those who read texts, there are none who do not add punctuation).
- 틀:Cite web
- E. Otha Wingo, Latin Punctuation in the Classical Age (The Hague, Netherlands: De Gruyter, 1972), 22.
- The Latin names for the marks: 틀:Lang, 틀:Lang, and 틀:Lang.
- 틀:Cite book
- 틀:Cite web
- Raymond Clemens & Timothy Graham, Introduction to Manuscript Studies (Ithaca–London: Cornell UP, 2007), 84–6.
- 틀:Cite book
- 틀:Cite book
- 틀:Cite book
- 틀:Cite book
- Iona and Peter Opie (1943) I Saw Esau.
- See e.g. Morse code and []
- 틀:Cite web
- 틀:Cite book
- Revised preliminary proposal to encode six punctuation characters introduced by Hervé Bazin in the UCS by Mykyta Yevstifeyev and Karl Pentzlin, Feb. 28, 2012
- European Patent Office publication
- Australian Official Journal of Patents, 27 January 1994
- CIPO – Patent – 2102803 – Financial Transactions 틀:Webarchive